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    • jbear

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    • jbear

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      There is little doubt that the forced landing of this plane by Belarus, with the clear intention to arrest Protasevich, is illegal under numerous conventions and treaties governing air space. Any forced landing of a jet carries dangers, and safe international air travel would be impossible if countries could force planes flying with permission over their air space to land in order to seize passengers who might be on board. This act by Belarus merits all the condemnation it is receiving.

      Yet news accounts in the West which are depicting this incident as some sort of unprecedented assault on legal conventions governing air travel and basic decency observed by law-abiding nations are whitewashing history. Attempts from U.S. officials such as Blinken and E.U. bureaucrats in Brussels to cast the Belarusians’ behavior as some sort of rogue deviation unthinkable for any law-respecting democracy are particularly galling and deceitful.

    • jbear

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      In 2013, the U.S. and key E.U. states pioneered the tactic just used by Lukashenko. They did so as part of a failed scheme to detain and arrest the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. That incident at the time caused global shock and outrage precisely because, eight years ago, it was truly an unprecedented assault on the values and conventions they are now invoking to condemn Belarus.

      In July of that year, the democratically elected President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, had traveled to Russia for a routine international conference attended by countries which export natural gas. At the time of Morales’ trip, Edward Snowden was in the middle of a bizarre five-week ordeal where he was stranded in the international transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, unable to board a flight to leave Russia or exit the airport to enter Russia.

    • jbear

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      Post count: 3972

      Snowden thus left Hong Kong that day with the intent to fly to Moscow, then immediately board a flight to Cuba, and then proceed to his ultimate destination in a Latin American country — Bolivia or Ecuador — in order to seek asylum there. But even after then-President Barack Obama denied that the U.S. Government would be “wheeling and dealing” in order to get Snowden into U.S. custody — “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” he dismissively claimed during a June press conference — the U.S. Government was, in reality, doing everything in its power to prevent Snowden from evading the clutches of the U.S. Government.

      Led by then-Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. officials warned every country in both Europe and South America said to be considering shelter for Snowden of grave consequences should they offer asylum to the whistleblower. Threats to Havana caused the Cuban government to rescind its commitment of safe passage they had issued to Snowden’s lawyer. Under Biden’s pressure, Ecuador also reversed itself by proclaiming the safe passage document issued to Snowden was a mistake.

      And on the day that Snowden had left Hong Kong, the U.S. State Department unilaterally cancelled his passport, which is why, upon landing in Moscow, he was barred from boarding his next international flight, destined for Havana. With the Russian government unable to allow him to board a flight due to his invalidated passport and with Snowden’s asylum requests pending both with Russia and close to two dozen other states, he was forced to remain in the airport until August 1, when Moscow finally granted him temporary asylum. He has lived there ever since. This has always been a staggering irony of the Snowden story: the primary attack on him by U.S. officials to impugn his motives and patriotism is that he lives in Russia and thus likely cooperated with Russian authorities (a claim for which no evidence has ever been presented), when the reality is that Snowden would have left Russia eight years ago after a 30-minute stay in its airport had U.S. officials not used a series of maneuvers that barred him from leaving.

    • Stagger Lee

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      Post count: 2810

      damn, I thought Greenwald finally wrote on the Trump admin spying on journalists!

      • jbear

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        Post count: 3972

        I wouldn’t hold my breath but if he does I’ll be sure to link it here to discuss. Don’t know what more you want from me on this.

    • jbear

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      Post count: 3972

      The duty to answer international questions about this incident was left to the spokesperson for the Obama State Department. At the time, that position was occupied by Jen Psaki, now the Biden White House Press Secretary. As he so often does, the Associated Press’s State Department reporter Matt Lee led the way in relentlessly pressing Psaki, demanding answers to what role the U.S. played in this incident. As she so often does, Psaki did everything possible to refuse even minimal transparency — neither admitting nor denying that the U.S. was behind all of this — yet she nonetheless made critical concessions at the July 3 State Department Press Briefing:

      QUESTION: Did the U.S. have any role in encouraging Western European countries to block the flight of the Bolivian President yesterday? Was there any communication between the U.S. and those countries in the affair?

      MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know because we’ve talked about it quite a bit in here, the U.S. has been in touch – the United States, I should say, officials – have been in touch with a broad range of countries over the course of the last 10 days. And we haven’t – I haven’t listed those countries; I’m certainly not going to do that today.

      Our position on Mr. Snowden has also been crystal clear in terms of what we want to happen, and that message has been communicated both publicly and privately in a range of these conversations we’ve had with countries. And let me just repeat: He’s been accused of leaking classified information. He’s been charged with three felony accounts and should be returned to the United States. I don’t know that any country doesn’t think that that is what the United States would like to happen. . . .

      QUESTION: There’s been a great deal of criticism though from Latin American leaders about the decision, not least because Snowden doesn’t appear to have been on board. You don’t sound like you’re denying that there were conversations about this. I mean, they – a number of Latin American leaders today have specifically criticized the U.S. for intervening in a diplomatic flight. Are you – am I right in understanding you’re not denying there were conversations about that?

      MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to get into diplomatic conversations that happened over the past 10 days and which countries they were with, but I would point you to the countries that you’re referring to and ask you to ask them about decisions that were made.

      QUESTION: But Jen, were you in communication with those countries or alerted to the fact that they would be either – well, not allowing a certain plane to land – the President’s plane?

      MS. PSAKI: We have been in contact with a range of countries across the world who had any chance of having Mr. Snowden land or even transit through their countries, but I’m not going to outline when those were or what those countries have been.

      QUESTION: Jen —

      QUESTION: Why isn’t it unseemly for any country to essentially deny a head of state safe passage through its airspace? Why – regardless of whether Snowden was on that plane, why isn’t that in and of itself patently offensive?

      MS. PSAKI: Well, Roz, I would point you to those specific countries to answer that question.

      QUESTION: But if the – if a similar situation were to happen involving Air Force One, it would be an international incident.

      MS. PSAKI: I’m not getting into a hypothetical. That’s not something that is currently happening that we’re currently discussing. . . .

      QUESTION: Can you say whether the United States or whether you are aware that the U.S. Government ever at some point had any information that Snowden might be on this plane?

      MS. PSAKI: I’m not aware of – I’m not aware of, but not something I would get into even if I did know. . . .

      QUESTION: At the airport, the Austrian authorities searched the plane of Morales. Did the U.S. ask for that?

      MS. PSAKI: Again, we – I would point you to all of these individual countries to describe to you what happened and why any various decisions were made.

      QUESTION: Did you consult with Austrian authorities when they let the plane touch down, when they let plane go on the ground?

      MS. PSAKI: I think my last answer answered that question.

      That exchange led to headlines confirming what most had already strongly suspected: “US admits contact with other countries over potential Snowden flights.” As Psaki put it, even while refusing to admit that the U.S. was behind the downing of Morales’ plane: “I don’t know that any country doesn’t think that that is what the United States would like to happen.”

      Illustrating how little the U.S. cares about even pretending to abide by the standards it imposes on others, the Biden administration on Monday sent out Psaki herself to condemn Belarus’ conduct as “a shocking act” and “a brazen affront to international freedom and peace and security by the regime.” It would not even occur to Biden officials — just for the sake of appearances if nothing else — to try to find someone to do this other than the same person who, in 2013, obfuscated and defended the actions of the U.S. and E.U. in doing the same thing to Bolivia’s presidential plane. U.S. officials simply do not believe that they are bound by the same standards to which its adversaries must be subjected.

    • jbear

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      Post count: 3972

      None of what happened with this Morales incident has any bearing on the justifiability of what Belarus did on Sunday. That the U.S. and its E.U. allies committed a dangerous international crime in 2013 does not mitigate the criminal nature of similar actions by Belarus or any other country eight years later. The dangers of forcing down airplanes in order to arrest someone who is suspected to be on that plane are manifest. The danger increases, not decreases, as more countries do it.

      But no journalist, especially Western ones, should be publishing articles or broadcasting stories falsely depicting Sunday’s incident as an unprecedented assault that could be perpetrated only by a Russian-allied autocrat. The tactic was pioneered by the very countries who today are most vocally condemning what happened. Any reporting of this story that excludes this vital history and context in favor of a false narrative of this being “unprecedented” — as is true of the vast majority of Western media reports about what Belarus did — does a grave disservice to both journalism and the truth. If it is outrageously dangerous and criminal to force the downing of a plane to arrest the passenger Roman Protasevich, then it must be equally dangerous and criminal to do the same in an attempt to arrest suspected passenger Edward Snowden.

      Indeed, the only two differences between these situations that one can locate are factors against the Western nations responsible for the downing of Morales’ plane. Unlike what Belarus did, the U.S. and its European allies obviously had no confirmation of Snowden’s presence on the plane. They forced it to land based on a guess, on rumor, on speculation, which turned out to be utterly false. The second difference is that there are obviously additional international and diplomatic implications from forcing the plane of a democratically elected president to land as opposed to a standard passenger jet: that is, at the very least, a profound attack on the sovereignty of that country. Again, there are no valid justifications for what Belarus did, but to the extent one wants to distinguish its actions from what US/EU nations did in 2013, those are the only identifiable differences.

    • jbear

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      Post count: 3972

      Glen Greenwald doing a great service for the Human Race today. The people who would have said this last year suddenly have no motivation to speak.

    • Stagger Lee

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      Post count: 2810

      @Jbear — honest question

      how is the FORCED downing of a commercial plan by a Mig-29 to arrest a journalist the same as the US using its power to have a plane, that it believe at the time 92013) carries a contractor spy who is in possession of millions (potentially) of DoD etc docs, diverted by air traffic controllers . .
      the same thing?

      the US send an F-16 up when it crossed the Atlantic would’ve at least been the same even though Snowden wasn’t a journalist

      I ask because I think Greenwald could make the point better about how outrageous this action is by Balrus (against one of his journalists) but the comparison makes it a huge stretch and almost an attempt to make himself relevant again or like something motivated by animus.

      both things weer very bad, but the circumstances were different, right?

      Protasevich created a publication app to cover what was going on inside Belarus. Snowden HACKED us computers while working for Dell and stole a wide range of documentation, well beyond what he needed for the NSA issue (a point both he and Greenwald acknowledge, right?). Probably just a function of not knowing what was what at the time, but the point is that in 2013 he is wanted FOR THE THEFT of many government documents, not a single document about he NSA and he had release some of the documents, despite later claiming that the documents would self-release if he was arrested etc.

    • jbear

      Participant
      Post count: 3972

      how is the FORCED downing of a commercial plan by a Mig-29 to arrest a journalist the same as the US using its power to have a plane, that it believe at the time 92013) carries a contractor spy who is in possession of millions (potentially) of DoD etc docs, diverted by air traffic controllers . .
      the same thing?

      the US send an F-16 up when it crossed the Atlantic would’ve at least been the same even though Snowden wasn’t a journalist

      I ask because I think Greenwald could make the point better about how outrageous this action is by Balrus (against one of his journalists) but the comparison makes it a huge stretch and almost an attempt to make himself relevant again or like something motivated by animus.

      both things weer very bad, but the circumstances were different, right?

      Protasevich created a publication app to cover what was going on inside Belarus. Snowden HACKED us computers while working for Dell and stole a wide range of documentation, well beyond what he needed for the NSA issue (a point both he and Greenwald acknowledge, right?). Probably just a function of not knowing what was what at the time, but the point is that in 2013 he is wanted FOR THE THEFT of many government documents, not a single document about he NSA and he had release some of the documents, despite later claiming that the documents would self-release if he was arrested etc.

      Are you saying the U.S. wouldn’t have scrambled a fighter to intercept the flight if they had made it that far? It turned out the U.S. convinced it’s allies to shut down their airspace instead which is obviously the better option for the U.S. so you could put the blame on those countries later precisely as Psaki did. “you’d have to ask those countries why they did it”.

      Not surprised that you are of the authoritarian mindset on Snowden considering your seeming taste for authoritarian dictates when done for the committee approved good of all. I on the other hand have always been for the pardoning of Edward Snowden because he did a huge service for the American people. When you view the Snowden episode through your lens it absolutely looks as if we have two completely different situations but that is the most closed minded, completely non-objective idea you’ve probably ever had.

      Obviously the Belarussian government views this journalists activities as something potentially treasonous just as you view Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified materials. By saying what you’re saying here you appear to be condoning a government’s strong arm tactics to capture an enemy of the state when it’s for the U.S., presumably because we’re always right and know what’s best for all the inferior nations…. why should we have rules, rules are for everyone else. And it’s interesting that this is the liberal mindset when it comes to governing in this country as well.

    • Stagger Lee

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      Post count: 2810

      so they are different:

      Are you saying the U.S. wouldn’t have scrambled a fighter to intercept

      but let me go ahead and tar you anyway

      Not surprised that you are of the authoritarian mindset on Snowden

      lmao

      By saying what you’re saying here you appear to be condoning a government’s strong arm tactics to capture an enemy of the state when it’s for the U.S., presumably because we’re always right and know what’s best for all the inferior nations…. why should we have rules, rules are for everyone else. And it’s interesting that this is the liberal mindset when it comes to governing in this country as well.

      no. I was saying that . .. (pay attention) . . in 2013 he was a hacker and a thief of much more than NSA spying docs, hence the attempted extraditions

      THIS IS WHY GREENWALD APPEALS TO YOU

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